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  • Hay 10:06 pm on November 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Garfield, , , videogames   

    Forgotten Old Games – Garfield: Caught in the Act 

    Hello and welcome to another FORGOTTEN OLD GAME!
    Today I’m gonna show you a game from a very famous strip comics character: Garfield!

    Released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis, Garfield: Caught in the Act is a Platform/Adventure game featuring Garfield and his friends.
    Lazy as always, Garfield was lying on the sofa watching some tv, when suddenly Odie scared him by letting out a really loud bark, making Garfield fall on the tv, breaking it. In an attempt to fix it, he put it altogether somehow…except for some “extra parts” as he said. But as soon as he turns the TV on, a bizarre monster that looks like some sort of ant with ac plugs instead of hands appears and zaps him with some sort of ray. Garfield then found himself trapped inside the TV, and it’s up to you to help him escape while travelling through different tv shows.

    The game features 6 levels, subdivided in several stages. Each stage is a “movie” in wich you start inside the tv circuits, then proceeds to the main “movie” and you face a boss at the end of the level. There is also a bonus level, called “commercial break” if you get the item for it. The game offers a brief explanation about the items just as seen on the next image.

    If coffee really granted invincibility, I'd be a GOD!

    The “pizza” and the “burger” replenishs energy. The Ammunition is a throwable item that you can use to hit enemies. The “way marker” is a checkpoint, the “tv remote” is the end of the stage and the “mallet key” is the item you must get in order to play the bonus stage.
    Now I’m gonna explain the game screen.

    That must hurt!

    The “TV” represents your HP, in other words, how many times you can be hit before you die. The Garfield face is the number of lives you have. The “fish” there is the number of throwable items you have. As for the basic commands:

    D Pad- Moves character
    A- Throws item
    B- Attacks
    C- Jumps

    Remember, DC electricity kills!

    The graphics are just decent. I say that because even if Garfield and the enemies are well drawn and animated, the background is poor in terms of color and details. The level design is not good as well, just take the second level as an example, it’s an straight run. As for the game music and sound effects, they are OK, nothing exceptional, but they’re not bad.

    Garfield’s appearance (as well as the other characters) changes depending on the level you’re playing. At the first level Garfield looks like a vampire hunter, while Odie is like Dracula haha! There is a level where Garfield looks like a Sabretooth, and even a Pharaoh.

    YOU ARE A PIRATE!

    I hate pyramid levels, period.

    The "Catsablanca" level is a tribute to "Casablanca"

    Garfield: Caught in the Act may not be exactly a pearl from it’s time. But for sure is a game worth playing, specially if you’re a Garfield fan. If you happen to like him and like Genesis as well, give it a try!

     

     

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  • Thais 10:02 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Guillaume de Fondaumiere, Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream, used games, videogames   

    Let used videogames alone! 

    Photo of our polemic CEO by M. Concepcion to examiner.com.

    There is a lot of fuzz lately about second-hand videogames sales, specially after Quantic Dream’s CEO, Guillaume de Fondaumiere, stated “And my calculation is, as Quantic Dream, I lost between €5 and €10 million worth of royalties because of second-hand gaming.” Quantic Dreams is the company behind Heavy Rain, a game widely known for encouraging players to play it only once.

    I could go on and on about the matter, pointing out pros and cons in each side of the dispute as serious journalism demands us to. But, guess what, that’s not a journalism blog. I won’t do anything like that. Instead, I’m going to write here: books.

    Yes, you read it right, books.

    Books are one of the first kind of mass-produced creative work to be available to sale in a good quality. Unlike paintings or sculptures, which were a handcraft artistic piece of work for a long time, since Gutenberg created the movable type printing, in around 1439, nearly every piece of word could be mass published and mass sold. Being mass printed, however, didn’t mean one or a group of creative minds wasn’t in charge of creating the content of the book, pamphlet or gazettes.

    As printed material, videogames are also the mass reproduction result of a creative composition. They also involve a team of skilled workers that will use the best of their intellectual production in order to create a cultural piece. So, both the player and the reader will buy not the intellectual property of this creative work but instead a material reproduction of it.

    However, in one of these industries, selling the used material reproduction was never actually questioned and is a common practice. In the other one, never the less, is being pointed out by some developers as a “shot in the foot” or a way by which some clever gamers use to not play a cent for the poor developers.

    Needless to say one of this industries is using the wrong approach around the matter. Would it be the one with almost 40 years of development or the one that is around 500 years entertaining humans? When I find it out, I’ll let you guys know.

     
    • CmdrEdem 10:27 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Well, game developers could be making more money if there was no second-hand sales. Digital distribution will make that happen over time and this is one of the reasons why platforms like OnLive and Steam should have cheaper games and are being supported so much by the game industry. Note that I did not say “loosing money”.

      The challenge for the industry to sell more is to make people think 1- The game is worth buying right at launch. 2- The game is loved enough to be bought right at launch and kept forever. When people “love” something they usually forget about money as a important factor. So if someone big in the industry sees this comment we are scr*w*d!

      • Thais 10:57 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not sure if digital distribution is the solution for the issue industry sees here. Even a a big digital distributor as Steam is testing the exchange system, which will make possible second hand sales. With one aggravation: there is no CD to be a little scuff or damage to the box, in order to diminish the mateiral value of the item; it is just as it was in the tome of the first sale.
        Well, for me, this selling is not a problem, is a solution. As you pointed out, second hand games are the perfect way for you to try out games that you don’t love enough to buy at launch or to keep forever. So a game that had a lot of used selling circulation is a game that was widely played and even though the company behind it didn’t profit that much, financially speaking, will get the recognition that its game deserve and will have its next title better received.

        • CmdrEdem 11:35 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          Yeah, people will want to pay less for games they don’t know and I’m all for that. But I can’t blame publishers for wanting a share of the used games profits, after all they took the risk and the money to make that game. If people bought straight from one another used games sale would probably raise no issues. Publishers want money from stores that sell used games and I can understand that.

          By the way, publishers could really make more demonstrations so people could know the game without paying. That’s what F2P MMOs are. They could do cheaper games too, but I’m asking too much now.

    • Carrot 11:05 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I completely agreed with your comment. They are not losing money. They just have to know how to make people love their game or just how to make the game teases so much its public that they all will buy asap.

      ‘Til now: Second hand games saved the old games and systems and also the ones out of stock.

      :D

      • Sorry, I was logged in a wrong account
  • Thais 9:26 am on July 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Animatronic Ackbar, Beyond the Game, documentary, video game bar, video game culture, , videogames   

    Beyond the Game trailer 

    Animatronic Ackbar is in the making of a gamer culture documentary and the trailer will be shown at EVO 2011 today. But you can already see the trailer here and send him your best thoughts sin, as Victoria Medina wrote at Destructoid

    I think we gamers have a pretty rich and interesting culture (I might be a tiny bit biased), but documentaries can go either way as far as how those being documented are represented. I also want to see what aspects of our culture are examined, since there are many sub-cultures and niche groups that fall under the umbrella of ‘gaming culture’. It is still too early to tell, just based on the one trailer, but I am a positive person, so I am going to expect good things from this. Also, I want a video game bar near my house.

     
  • Thais 10:10 am on December 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , games as art, Luke Plunkett, videogames, videogames as art   

    About art, videogames and cars 

    It’s really tricky to talk about “anything as art” since to justify the comparison it’s need to try to define art, something as polemical as it can get. We already discussed some pros and cons here, but we never even tried to reach a conclusion whatsoever. Luke Plunkett, in the other hand, didn’t got intimidated by the controversy and wrote down his own outlook in the matter. To Luke videogames are not art, since art refers to non-interactive apparatus, but they are cars. Luke explains:

    Games are more than art; they are also mechanical, something we can appreciate, sure, but also something we have to use.[..] You can have all the art and celebrity voice-overs and moving music and poetic gestures you want, but if there’s nothing to interact with, it’s not a game. It’s just…a collection of various pieces of media. Likewise, the handling and mechanics of a game, or its level design and puzzle difficulty, are just an intangible, unrecognisable collection of 1s and 0s without a character and world to dress them in, or a story to give them purpose and context.

    Read Luke’s whole article at Kotaku!

     
  • Thais 7:04 pm on October 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Collective Consciousness, Raganök, videogames,   

    Videogames and Cultural Hybridization 

    This is text is result of a conversation between me and my good friend Omar Ruvalcaba concerning some points in videogame culture and how it can hybridizate traditional/etnical cultures or be product of that hybridization. I must warn you first that we reached no ultimate conclusions at all and also that this text is only a compressed version of our conversation! Hope you enjoy it!

    Cultural products of a culture are the expression of its culture values and thoughts. Period. Of course, there is also the author personal touch and “universal” values, which generally are in a deeper layer. For example, Shakespeare work, each one of his writing, are highly tied with Elizabethan era, its values and its ways. Even in writings placed in other countries our other times written by Shakespeare have that British XV~XVI accent. Even though, all those works also talk about deeper human values, universal ones, that can make sense in any culture, no matter where or when in a Shakespearean way.

    Videogames are also a cultural product, but the society in which they happened to be created, our contemporary society, is not as well defined nor most of those cultural products use such complex narrative elements as Shakespeare’s. Also, most videogames are produced in 4 or 5 countries while are readily consumed by all the rest of the world. So, it’s not hard to come up with questions as how conscious game designers are of the culture of the people that will be playing their games in the development process or when designing the human computer interaction aspect (such as the controls) do designers of this equipment consider how people in various communities outside of Western Europe and the USA participate in activities, two of the three main videogames producers?

    Well, you don’t have to think much to answer that: probably not, or all evidence indicates that they don’t. But, honestly, can you blame them? We are as we are because of our cultural environment; our model Shakespeare was, dressed, though and ate what its environment allowed him to. Of course, we do have our personality and freewill to decide what we want, but we can’t decide for a option that was not given to us. Therefore, Shakespeare couldn’t write [or, at least, would have a lot of trouble not only to come up with such ideas but also to make himself understood back them], for example, about zombies or aliens, kinds of characters that weren’t part of Elizabethan common thought, its collective consciousness. But fairies and elfs were, that’s why.

    Also, that brings me to mind that I also said our society was not as “well defined” as Shakespeare’s, a argument which can be said about many aspects of today society, but that I meant in a cultural spectrum. In Elizabethan era, the fantastic creatures in the social imaginary were basically some old Norse [their Britannic imagine being, itself, a prove of hybridization] or some creatures, not that well known, from classical mythology. Today, we can add up European  [werewolves, vampires, warriors, knights], African [zombies], American [chupacabra, bigfoot, indians] and Asian [ samurais, gueishas] folk myths/characters and also myths created by modern society [as aliens]. And they can all [or almost] appear in only one place/game, as World of Warcraft or Ragnärok.

    That, by itself, is show us how multi-cultural can a videogame that, at first glance, seemed a total American or Japanese creation. Of course, those appropriations generally aren’t accurate, but generally natural-historic appropriations aren’t since the appropriators have to “fit” the traditional idea to its own traditions or beliefs. That’s a natural evolutionary movement of human cultures, an enriching one. Even Shakespeare did it based on the collective consciousness of his time; try comparing his Pluck to a traditional Norse elf. Also, complete accurate references could also be considered boring to most people. In the original zombie myth, the malady is not contagious nor instigate brain eating, but the popular culture zombie malady does. And it’s awesome.

    So, even that most people are still not really interested in a pure original immersion in other cultures throw games, that “semi” immersion provided by the hybridization of a pop culture movement/figure with the native cultures can be a great way to begin the culture exchange. I like to think about this with great Japanese games from the 80’s and 90’s in which the hybridization of the american/japanese culture seemed almost perfect, like Ninja Gaiden and Kabuki.

    I believe that though this multi-culturalism is present in all games they are more obvious in indie games. Even indie pop based games, that seems to have no relation to the developer’s native culture, can be used to understand some kind of outlook provided by his reality. For example, in India there is some kind of great glamorization of the western super-heroes. Even though, they understand these super-heroes in their own ways. Therefore, even if they try to approach the theme in a “American” way, it will actually translate the American super-hero to their own culture. This example is blatant in Indian movies.

     
  • Thais 6:50 am on October 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , videogames   

    Master System 25th Anniversary 

    photo by Koori A. Moonrise

    What a week! Monday was the American NES 25th anniversary, and today it’s the Japanese Sega Master System 25th anniversary! For most Americans and Japaneses, there is not much to say about this game console, since it haven’t achieved such a success as NES did. But for Europe, Oceania and Brazil gamers, Master System was as important as [or even more!] than NES. Why that happen is not clear, though, according to Wikipedia,

    Sega’s Master System was technically superior to the NES, capable of displaying twice as many colours on screen and featuring a CPU twice as fast as the one used in the NES; it arguably trumped the Nintendo Entertainment System in every possible technical respect and was released nationwide in the United States the same year, 1986. Yet technical superiority affects the market success of a console very little. Size and quality of a game console’s library might be given lip service in comments and editorials, but games tend to play second fiddle to popularity and brand over the history of the game industry.

    So, because or whereat Master System didn’t sell well in the States and Japan, many games weren’t even released there. But in other markets, the console sold even more than NES, therefore there was a huge library of titles to choose from. There even was third party games made in USA that were only released in those more successful markets, one which was Brazil, the lovely country in which I happen to live.

    Brazil is a interesting case in Master System history, not only because the console and most of its games were a huge success, but also some famous games were “adapted” [edited, if I may] to feature Brazilian celebrities or themes. The funny thing is that few or none of those Master System Brazilian games were made of scratch; it was always preferred to edit a already successful title instead of just creating something new!  That’s quite a interesting kind of cultural appropriation and hybridization that I’d like to talk more openly in a near future [keep tuned!]. Also, some of those “Brazilian” games will be subject of another today post, so let’s not spoil it.

    Another interesting Brazil/Master System fact is that, here, the console  is still in retail. Yes, you read this correctly, a 25 years old console is still in production as you can see in the manufacturer site.

    If you want to know a bit more about Master System golden age, you can check out the tribute site Sega 8 bit, but if you prefer some action and play those damn good games by yourself, there is Master System 8. I’d recommend Sonic, Alex Kidd and Golden Axe but, well, there are a lot of other classics over there.

     
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